- Learning and recording C, G, D, A, Em, Am, Dm, and F chords and scales
- The First Cut is the Deepest
- Down By the Bay
- Here We Go 'Round the Mulberry Bush
- How Much is that Doggie in the Window
- Hokey Pokey
- If You're Happy and You Know It
- Hush Little Baby
I have also been working hard on Colours of the Wind for my final exam/performance on April 12th. This is by far the most difficult piece I've attempted this semester, so I probably will not post a recording of this song until I've sorted out a few more bumps in my playing - but it will be here soon!
Besides tangible, recordable proof of my progress, I have learned many other about learning guitar for beginners. First of all, the wealth of information is overwhelming. I immediately ruled out practical lessons because of the expense. Instead, I borrowed the book "Teach Yourself Guitar" by Nick Freeth from my sister who made an attempt to learn guitar a couple years ago. This did not work because it began using guitar lingo on the very first page. Instead of being able to learn where to place my fingers for a G chord on page two, I could only think "What the heck is a fret?" Perhaps other books are better suited for new players, but expense limited me to borrowed or free resources. Speaking of free resources, there is always The Internet. There are thousands upon thousands of tutorials online: free, paid, videos, written, anything you could ask for it's there. Unfortunately, instead of being wonderful in it's abundance of information, it is overwhelming. So many YouTube videos are made by random people who decided they knew the best way to teach a song, it is extremely difficult to sort through them and choose.
So, the question remains, what resources did I use to learn guitar?
- I faithfully attended every guitar jam session with Denise all semester. This was helpful in several ways. First, identifying with other student's struggles and measuring my skills against theirs was both humbling and encouraging. Denise herself was a great for asking questions, getting face-to-face advice on problems, and gathering resources to give to future students (even if I honestly didn't use any of them except "First Cut is the Deepest"). Another reason I am glad I attended these lessons is that it provided me with a general knowledge base of picking and slap strumming - objectives for other students that did not originally apply to me. However, I ended up meddling in both of these techniques through the songs "If You're Happy and You Know It" and "Hush Little Baby", something I would not have done without these lessons.
- My critical friend Colter Hahn and I only met twice throughout the semester because of our crazy clashing schedules. However, he provided me with two insurmountable things for my success: the motivation I needed early February to actually get a start on things, and the piece "Colours of the Wind" which has become my final goal for the semester.
- I did use the Internet, but only when I knew exactly what I was looking for. This was often still frustrating, but I eventually found what I needed. A prime example was chords for children's songs. I found the ones I used from Storytime Songs, but that wasn't even enough. I had to ask Denise for advice on what kids of strum patterns to use for several of the songs since the survival pattern is not the be all end all.
I am very glad I chose blogging to document my guitar experience. This method kept me honest, as the dates of posts show up and there is no way to change them -- therefore I had to complete my goals every week and not put them off and record them all at once. This became easier each week and although I thought I may have received some feedback from other students who were blogging or people who have my URL, I still think blogging was the best method of documentation for me.
I have no immediate plans to continue the guitar, one big reason being that I cannot afford the purchase of one at the moment and Cadence will be returned to Denise on April 12. However, many of my friends own guitars and I will be able to pick it up an pick out a couple songs with them. I feel confident that I will return to the guitar in later years when I hopefully become the music teacher I aim to be.
This has been a valuable experience if I ever choose to teach guitar in the classroom. I can give them resources, advice, and warnings with first-hand experience and passion. I can show them this blog and others (Elora, Alej and Sarah) to show proof of different approaches and goals to learning guitar. I can abate the fear of being overwhelmed by information by guiding them to more specific resources depending on their goals.